It’s that time of year where you scratch your head figuring out what to get for that special someone, or yourself this holiday season. Buy what do you get someone who loves the outdoors? Is he/she a hiker? biker? paddler? The options are pretty limitless especially when you factor in getting a locally made product or ordering online. So this year, I wanted to help your buying decision by compiling this holiday gift guide for the outdoor enthusiast.
I’ll break down the buying guide around these themes: clothes, gear & tech.
Clothing Gift Guide
Let’s start at the bottom- socks. This past year I tried yet another wool sock manufacturer and I have to give you my recommendation for Darn Tough Socks. Once you read their backstory, you will want to give these a try or gift a pair of socks. Coming out of Vermont the variety of styles and colourful patterns are bound to impress.
Darn Tough Socks
Next up is pants. Normally I would be indicating to try something from North Face, but I tried these pants from Under Armour and was pleasantly surprised how well they fit.
Under Armour Pants
For shoes, I still wear my pair from Solomon. It has been a true work horse. But when I was relaxing at camp this summer, my goto footwear has been KEEN Clearwater sandals. It’s hard not to recommend these, they simply do their job. The mix of colors available makes these worth a try. And the best thing about KEEN’s is that the sizing has been consistent for year.
KEEN Clearwater Sandals
Only because it’s getting cold outside, I grabbed my soft shell jacket and while the cold rain and wind fell, I stayed dry and warm. In my neck of the woods here in Northern Eastern Atlantic shoreline, a soft shell jacket is a must.
North Face Soft Shell Jacket
Wool Buff Headwear
My most cherished clothing item has got to be the Buff headwear. The wool version is especially worth consideration. A bit longer than the standard buff, the merino wool does a great job during colder months and with the extra length provided that extra material when folding over – providing a warmer neck or head area.
Outdoor Gear Gift Guide
There are a handful of items I have purchased that I simply love and a few that are my list to purchase next year. And of course lots of items that I will buy for others. No matter the outdoor activity, these items will serve a purpose and will stay with you for a number of years even after you don’t do as much outdoor stuff.
Firebox Wood Stove
Leave No Trace is a mantra you probably know, and this stove IMO does a great job to help you consider the environment and yet a versatile product to get a small fire going and heat up some water or cook up a meal.
Cold Steel Trail Boss
By far, this is the best value camping axe that has a design that will please any outdoors person. The axe and handle is surprisingly good quality and with a sharpening stone, a great combination under 50$.
Petzl Actik Headlamp
This is a crowded space and with the LED improvements, you can find some very bright lights. But this one from Petzl is a very nice, affordable and bright light that would be great for outdoors and runners. The thick handband, battery or CORE power pack, safety whistle and a very bright 300 lumens. You will look like a freight train on the trail.
LifeStraw Water Filter
This item is replacing a lot of bulky water filter systems that we’ve been carrying for a while. For a low price, you are able to suck through up to 1000L (litres) of water. You will find a few variants on this idea, but can’t beat this value.
When #2 is #1 – Sh!t Kits
Hillarious when you started seeing these on several youtube channels, but having a potty kit that will have everything you need to take care of #2 isn’t a bad idea. I eventually ordered a bunch to include in several of my kits.
Insulated Stainless Steel Growlers & Vapur Wine Carriers
Now that the price has gone down, you can get a 2L (litre) 64 oz growler at an affordable price. With all the craft breweries opening up, it pays to have these insulated growlers at the ready so that I keeps cold for several hours. Reusable and compact wine carrier and glasses come in handy too.
Trail Running Vest
For those who go ultralight hiking and trail running, the small lightweight pack is more in common than you think. This is trail running pack, but for those who do short range hiking, say 16k or under, this might be a great item to carry. Quick access water bottles and small pack allows you to carry the essentials and keep light.
Alternative Bear Spray – CASU eAlarm 12db
This has been a top item on the site since I did a product review last year. They started out as ROBOCOPP but now known as BASU, this battery operated 120db personal alarm is a great item to have as an alternative to bear spray or for urban running who need an attention grabbing alarm.
Leatherman Juice Multi-Tool
A multi-tool is one of those items you don’t think you’ll need until you’re stuck and use it – after that you are hooked. The Juice series also does a great job to introduce new users of the tool while still pocket size. I started out with the Juice S4 which was great for outdoors people, but the Juice S2 has enough tools for the beginner to get them hooked. I’d bundle this with the sheath.
Outdoor Tech Gear Gift Guide
Some of the toys that I love using when outdoors. I’ll be honest, this section is mostly on GPS devices, but if you are running, or hiking centric; these items I will take with me anytime.
Garmin inReach Explorer+
While not the same experience as a full blown outdoor GPS, the inReach is a unique device for those who do outdoors, do basic GPS functions but need to be connected via iridium satellite network to send short messages via text, email or other. After 5 years of use since the inReach original, I can say that this is a must. Note that if you prefer to have Garmin maps, or need to use a garmin handheld like oregon, GPSMAP 64, then the SE+ is as good. The only exception is that basemaps are not pre-loaded on the SE+
Garmin Forerunner 35
This is a great base GPS running watch with a wrist heart rate monitor. If you thinking about couch 2 5k, this combined with Garmin Connect on your smartphone will keep you on track.
Garmin Oregon 650t
Dedicated GPS handhelds are a dying breed. However, this touch screen version from Garmin would be great for the geocaching user out there. Note that we may see a new version soon, I’ve found that the software doesn’t change that much, so it’s ok to get a slightly older version as the firmware has matured which results to a reliable unit.
Goal Zero Flip 10 Recharger
Battery banks are pretty much everywhere, but I do like the Flip 10. Nice compact size that can top up a smartphone or inReach. I like how I don’t need to pack extra cables as the USB charging port flips out.
Nite Ize Power Key
Inside the aluminium cylinder is either short micro USB or Apple Lightening cable. Clip this to your key chain or in your bag along with your power bank and you are good to do. Another alternative is from NOMAD .